Tomorrow is the beginning of Fairtrade Fortnight - a celebration of the Fairtrade movement. Since the first Fairtrade bananas went on sale in the UK 11 years ago, there are now 200 products available that bear the movement's kitemark. More than a million developing world producers are now signed up to the scheme, which ensures that local farmers are paid above market prices and workers involved in production are paid minimum wages.
More than 5,000,000 people - farmers, workers and their families - in 58 different countries benefit.
There are critics of the scheme who claim, among other things, that farmers should diversify rather than rely on subsidised prices. There are also concerns that Nestle - one of the most boycotted companies in the world by ethical comsumers - has launched a Fairtrade certified coffee. Action Aid is also concerned that Fairtrade doesn't address the fundamental injustices in world trade systems.
However, Ian Bretman, director of the Fairtrade Foundation, says:
'It's too cynical to say that because you can't help everyone you shouldn't help anyone. The system is changing - partly because Fairtrade has encouraged many people to become more engaged with the need to reform.'
So - how much do you care about who benefits from that coffee you're drinking right now?
For further info check out Ethical Consumer.